PM backs foreign minister
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday strongly defended his foreign minister over reported comments that the occupation of Bangkok’s airports by protesters was “a lot of fun.” Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya apologized, but said remarks quoted by the UK’s Daily Telegraph about the week-long siege by demonstrators trying to bring down the previous government had been taken out of context. Kasit played a key role in the People’s Alliance for Democracy, which ended the airport blockade after a court disbanded the ruling party loyal to ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, paving the way for Abhisit’s rise. “His comments were made before the royal command appointed him as minister. He later explained to me what he had said and that what appeared in media was inaccurate,” Abhisit told reporters.
Cat falls 34 floors, survives
A lucky cat used up one of its lives when it survived a 34-story plunge from an apartment building window, a report said yesterday. The seven-year-old moggy Voodoo vanished from her high-rise flat on the Gold Coast of Queensland state on Monday and reappeared on the ground where his fall was apparently broken by some well-placed bushes. The cat’s owner, Sheree Washington, said that Voodoo was fond of standing on a small ledge outside the 34th-floor flat and looking down on the world. “Obviously he was looking over too far and went. So he fell 34 floors and was lucky enough to land in some bushes, which I think have saved him,” she said.
Fraudster gets seven years
A swindler who used fake resumes and documents to scam his way into 12 jobs and steal HK$3.62 million (US$460,000) has been jailed for seven years, reports said yesterday. Lam Chun-fai, dubbed by local media as Hong Kong’s version of the fraudster in Hollywood drama Catch Me if You Can, used false documents to win jobs as a psychologist, accounting clerk and marketing boss, the Standard reported. The 33-year-old was jailed on Tuesday for six years by a district court on 27 charges of fraud, deception and theft, the paper said. Another year was added for a previous sentence where Lam had skipped bail.
Talk shows targeted
The broadcasting watchdog has ordered a crackdown on low-brow confessional talk shows as part of a campaign against base entertainment and because such programs often fake their content, reports said yesterday. The country has seen a plethora of these TV shows, mainly on regional stations, with names like Real Love, Here Comes the Litigant and Say It Like It Is, where people come on to talk about family disputes or appeal for money. But many of them have resorted to faking their content to get higher ratings, the Xian Evening News said.
Tallest Santa sculpted
The city of Harbin is building what organizers say is the world’s largest Santa Claus ice sculpture. The giant Father Christmas, 160m long and 24m high, centers on an enormous face of Father Christmas, complete with flowing beard and hat. Its huge size and unseasonably warm temperatures have made the job challenging, said Tang Guangjun, one of the sculptors. “It is even bigger and higher than last year’s, and more difficult. The weather swings between warm and cold, so it becomes very wet and slippery on the ice. It is very dangerous for us,” he said.